Connecticut DSLR & Mirrorless System Photography Workshops

TS PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS

Learn Manual Exposure Controls and Much More


INTRODUCTION:

My D-SLR and Mirrorless System Camera photography classes & workshops are fun, informative, and designed to inspire. You'll have the opportunity to learn in-person from a well-published master nature & landscape photographer. These classes & workshops are held locally here in western Connecticut. Here is a brief sampling of the various levels of primary Classes and Workshops I currently offer.


MY DSLR WORKSHOPS & CLASSES ARE IN HIGH DEMAND. SO PLEASE ... BE SURE TO CONTACT ME FOR AVAILABILITY AND SCHEDULING. THE PHASE I & PHASE II CLASSES RUN YEAR ROUND, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. OUTDOORS WATERFALLS WORKSHOPS ARE SEASONAL (MAY-OCTOBER ONLY) AND BY PRE-PAID APPOINTMENT ONLY

CLASSES, WORKSHOPS & CONSULTATIONS MUST BE PRE-PAID IN ADVANCE -- NO EXCEPTIONS



CONSULTATION | BEFORE YOU INVEST IN A NEW CAMERA SYSTEM

If you are purchasing a new DSLR or mirrorless system, you can schedule a 30-minute phone or zoom consultation service with me - before - you make an investment in a system that might not suit your needs. Frequently people tend to undervalue their potential and purchase camera's with limited functions and a low ceiling. You do NOT need to live locally to me in Connecticut. Pre-buy consultations are available to anyone, anywhere as long as you can be available to chat when I am.

Together, we can review your expectations and match you up with the appropriate photography equipment. You can schedule a consultation with me regardless if you plan to schedule a class or not. I'll invoice you via email to pre-pay. 30-MIN. CONSULTATIONS COST $59.00



Covered bridge photographic artwork as jigsaw puzzles by Thomas Schoeller Photography

My experiences have helped me establish a flourishing website based Fine Art prints business, sell a staggering amount of JigSaw puzzles through White Mountain Puzzles, Inc., licensed my imagery to be used on popular national TV programs, and have been published in countless magazines, calendars, and news media outlets. If this matches the goals you set for yourself, and the kind of experience you'd like to draw from, feel free to CONTACT me so we can discuss your situation

Lighthouses of Maine | 2019 Calendar Cover Photo by Thomas Schoeller Photography
Just one example of my licensed & published photographic works for beautiful wall-mounted calendars

PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES | PHASE I - BEGINNER TO DSLR & MIRRORLESS COACHING

These 2-hour sessions can be scheduled on separate days, or bundled together at reduced pricing. My Phase I classes are great for SLR beginners - no matter if you are graduating from iPhone cameras or looking for a quick brush-up. It's THE PLACE to start and learn what's going on "under the hood" with any DSLR or Mirrorless system. The objective is to get you familiar with the manual controls, features, and functions these wonderful cameras have to offer.

The Exposure Triangle and the various camera functions are the topics for Phase I classes. You'll have the option to break the Phase I classes up into (2) days at 2 hrs each. (It's highly suggested to schedule a Saturday-Sunday, or back to back weekends) Most people prefer to complete both on the same day (4 hrs) and when we do, we'll take a short 20-minute break at halftime. If your interested in scheduling a class, feel free to CONTACT me!

Individual Phase 1 Classes lasting 2-hours each. Cost is $185.00 (per person)

Bundled Phase 1 Classes - Same day 4-hours (special pricing) Costs is $285.00 (per person)


PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES | PHASE II - Hands-on Applying The Techniques

PHASE II workshops are an excellent follow-up to any Phase I Beginner's classes. This is where the beginner meets the intermediate skill level. What's really cool is I let YOU pick the subjects that you enjoy shooting, or want to learn the most. Have you every wanted to learn Portrait Photography tricks and tips? Nature & Landscape basics, Automotive photography? You pick a subject. If I'm comfortable with it - and have a deep working knowledge of the subject, I'll teach you.

During each class, I'll be explaining to you "how and why" when selecting the appropriate aperture settings, ISO, and shutter speed to achieve the desired results. I'll show you how to use the back-focus control if your camera has it. We'll go over both manual focusing and auto-focus techniques, and just as important, I'll show you how each metering mode works and what's best to choose for your subject! There is no minimum or maximum number of Phase II classes you can take. Phase II classes are priced by the length of time allotted. To inquire about scheduling a class, CONTACT me.

The guided outdoors waterfalls & streams excursions are scheduled between May and September. I highly recommend to put aside at least 3 hours for this class. If waterflow conditions are not conducive for a workshop, I won't schedule classes. Please scroll further to learn more about my outdoors nature classes.

PRICING: Phase II classes @ 2 hours cost $185.00 - @ 3 hours cost $275.00 - @ 4 hours cost $350.00


PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES | GIFT CERTIFICATES

For real! Yes, I've been doing this for years and it's exceptionally popular. I've had people gift my classes a retirement gifts, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, and of course the Holiday season. If you'd love to Gift a friend or loved one a photography class, all you need to do is Contact me and we can go over the details to determine which class or length of time works the best.

I'll invoice you for payment, then we'll mail you one of our unsealed Gift cards with my contact details inside. You can personalize or add a note inside the Gift card before presenting it to someone. They can contact me at their leisure to discuss scheduling their class.


LOCATION FOR PHASE I & PHASE II INSTRUCTIONAL CLASSES

I'm located in New Milford, Ct. To get an idea of your travel time, type in the address of my local Post Office which is: 37 Main St. New Milford, Ct. I'm located just 3 minutes from the Post Office, and will provide directions only after you schedule and pre-purchase your class.

If you are within a 20-mile radius of New Milford, I'd be happy to travel and teach either a PHASE I or PHASE II class for an additional $25.00 fee. I won't travel much further beyond 20 miles

REQUIREMENTS

Workshops are strictly for DSLR or DSLM Mirrorless cameras with full manual exposure controls and interchangeable lenses. (No iPhone cameras, iPad cameras, or compact consumer digital cameras) You should bring your DSLR | DSLM camera, along with a lens, charged battery, a memory card, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm! Also, be sure to bring your camera's manual! I won't know your specific camera's menus in and out, in fact, no one does!

Why Attending a Workshop or Class in Person is Preferable

Truth be told, "simply owning" an advanced camera & good lenses doesn't make anyone a photographer. Just as owning a hammer doesn't make anyone a carpenter. Acquired knowledge, applied skills & proper technique are more important than anything else. There are definitely benefits to attending in-person workshops!

Camera phones don't have advanced capabilities, no matter how hard they try and tell you so. Learning how to MAKE a photograph, and not just take one, separates a photographer from point and shoot snapshots


Rule #1 - The camera doesn't take the photograph, the operator does.

The most important step you'll take is learning how to use your camera when you take it off "Auto" mode. Essentially, leaving any camera on full auto mode virtually turns it into nothing more than a camera phone. You have all that wonderful technology at your fingertips! Your not under any pressure to become a professional photographer, most people enjoy it as a fun hobby. However, you'll have a lot more fun using more of the advanced features and taking much better images as a result.

In-person classes allow you to ASK questions at any time, or ask the instructor (me) to go over something you didn't fully understand. You can watch a talking head on YouTube videos all day long - each time you scroll back, they'll repeat the same thing! I provide "real time knowledge" for people that really want to learn photography.

Under my guidance, you'll take control, step-by-step, of your camera's functions. This is a service that I've provided for many years, and it is well worth the effort and small investment. To inquire about scheduling a workshop please CONTACT me.



Phase II Advanced Techniques

Connecticut Waterfalls Technique Classes

With the launch of my brand new website (you're on it now) I've made major adjustments to what previously was my Guided Connecticut Outdoors Nature Photography Workshops. You may be familiar with the guided workshops if you've ever visited my site. I used to take people to shoot landscapes just about anywhere! Moving forward, the traditional 4 hour Guided Outdoors Nature excursions in Connecticut will no longer be offered. Instead, I'm focusing Phase II outdoors nature technique classes on Waterfalls.

Previously, I had placed a great deal of pressure on myself trying to accommodate people to make conditions perfect. I was always stressing over idyllic conditions - like planning amazing sunrises & sunsets each and every time we'd head out. (Its impossible) Connecticut, despite the subtle beauty of our Litchfield Hills, simply does not have the unlimited outdoors opportunities compared to states like Utah, Montana, Maines rugged coastal region, or even Vermont's idyllic world-class rural character.

In addition, I've grown increasingly frustrated arriving at destinations to find they have been abruptly closed to the public, or discover the State of CT has decided to collect fee's for parking! So many gorgeous old farms and rustic barns that I've had permission to visit and explore over the years have either been sold, developed, or fenced off with No Trespassing signs. Fortunately, we DO have some outstanding waterfalls up here in the NW corner of Connecticut and they make great subjects in which to take beautiful images while learning techniques.

Campbell Falls is one of the Berkshires most picturesque cascades | As it tumbles down the steep cliffs it makes ethereal swirls in the grotto below

Straddling the border of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Campbell Falls is one of the Berkshires most picturesque cascades.


WATERFALLS & STREAMS | REQUIREMENTS & EQUIPMENT

This workshop is open to ALL skill levels, however, specific gear is necessary to make long exposures for capturing silky smooth ethereal water.

Beside your camera body and a few lenses, you'll need a tripod and a circular variable neutral density filter. For the best results, I also recommend to obtain a remote shutter release cable (or electronic shutter release) which allows you to be "hands free" and not introduce camera shake while making exposures. Entry-level DSLR cameras work fine as long as you can make manual adjustments to your ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed settings.

Keep in mind, the waterfalls workshops will likely require an early start to the day if the forecast is for sunny skies! Direct sunlight on water is not appropriate lighting for waterfalls and streams. If we get started just before sunrise, we'll likely have 2.5 to 3 hours to work with. If we're lucky enough to have overcast conditions, a sprinkle of rain or misty conditions, we can photograph the scenery as long as time allows.

Waterfall Technique classes are on-location and start at $300.00 for 2.5 hours. To inquire about scheduling a class please CONTACT me.

Waterfall workshops are SEASONAL! If the conditions are acceptable, I begin around early May and conclude around late October. Be sure to CONTACT ME for availability.



PHASE II - LANDSCAPE COMPOSITION & PORTRAIT TECHNIQUES

SPRING KICKOFF BEGINS @ LAUREL RIDGE FOUNDATION DAFFODIL DISPLAY

I teach on-location outdoors Phase II "Landscape Composition & lighting" classes, and Phase II "Portrait Technique" classes around the end of April on-location near Litchfield CT at the Laurel Ridge farm daffodil fields. The blooms tend to peak for a period of about 3 weeks, and can begin anytime from mid to late April or even be delayed into May. It all depends on how long old man winter decides to linger.

These classes are not limited to weekends, in fact, most take place after 5:30 pm M-F. There are far less visitors during the week, and those that do venture here tend to leave well before sunset. The sunsets at this location in the spring are often pretty amazing!


Laurel Ridge is a wonderful place to learn the art of landscape photography! It's a beautiful rolling and partially wooded landscape with ample stone walls, mature Maple trees, a gorgeous pond surrounded by hills, and nearly 18 acres of wild growing daffodils (4 species in all) I enjoy this location for several reasons including the fact it's easy to get to, there is ample parking, and you can incorporate foreground, midground and a distinct background in the compositions.

This workshop is open to any skill level, however, to learn how to attain great depth of field in your photos (sharpness front to back) you'll need a tripod and ball head. Water resistant footwear is a plus as we might need to venture into some ankle-deep soggy conditions to gain access to a few cool spots. This workshop is limited to a maximum of (2) people at any time. The owners of the foundation have been kind enough to allow visitors to explore for as long as I remember, and I prefer to keep our "footprint" as small as possible and allow other visitors personal space and quality time here.

I've also done many portrait sessions here over the years for families and couples. It's a great location, not only for learning landscape techniques, but to work on portrait techniques for beautiful family photos and people portraits!

Spring Landscape classes at Laurel Ridge last @ 2.5 hours for $250.00

To inquire about scheduling a class please CONTACT me



OUTDOORS | NATURAL LIGHT PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES - PHASE II CLASSES

Equipment

If you desire to learn "advanced" natural light outdoors portrait photography tips & tricks, I can help you! Before we jump in and schedule classes, if you are currently using an entry-level DSLR camera, you may be disappointed to find they have some limitations when used outdoors. Most entry-level cameras don't include the necessary tools and advancements in face and eye-recognition, autofocus technology, ISO range and Spot metering ability. Aside from the camera body itself, there are lenses that work far more appropriately for portrait photography (I get into that more as you read further)

If you were in an indoors studio setting with a static subject and controlled lighting, you can employ a tripod and use manual focus techniques - so using an entry-level SLR would work just fine. However, it's very unlikely your using a controlled indoors studio when you are photographing people. Outdoors natural lighting portraits are much more challenging, especially since you'll be shooting hand-held and your subject is active. Having more modern updated equipment will make a world of difference.


Recently, makers like Sony, Canon and Nikon have developed auto-focus technology that is mind-blowing. You don't have to be a fulltime Pro to enjoy what the newer technology offers. In fact, you do NOT have to purchase the flagship model mirrorless or SLR body to obtain this game-changing ability. Your "hit rate" for in-focus shots will rise dramatically. I'd be happy to provide a consultation if you would like to talk over the options.

LENSES

Also, I should note that the "kit lenses" that often are included with slightly older entry-level SLR camera's are not suited for portraits. Kit lenses are usually zoom lenses with "variable" apertures that close down as you zoom out to longer focal lengths. These lenses usually start out with an F/4 aperture which isn't terribly bad, but they incrementally step down to F/5.6 and F/6.3 as you zoom out to longer focal lengths.

For making effective portrait images with sharp subjects and out of focus backgrounds, you'll need lenses with fixed apertures that stay open up to F/3.5 or wider. You'll see from my sample portrait above, wider apertures give you full control over your subjects sharpness (what is in focus) and that beautiful creamy blur (bokeh) in the foreground and background.

Natural Light - On Location Classes

The portrait classes I teach do not involve the use of artificial light (flash) however, I do have reflectors we can use to bounce natural light back onto your subject. I'll be showing you techniques you can put to work immediately that can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos. If you are interested in the portrait technique classes, I highly advise to bring along anyone to model. If you have kids, a husband or wife, good friends, anyone will do! Please be sure to CONTACT me in advance to schedule your class!

Portrait classes last @ 1.5 hours, or until sunset for $175.00


LIGHTROOM CLASSIC EDITING CLASSES

The final touches on your imagery should always take place using Lightroom, and Lightroom Classic is the editing software I have the most experience with. I can provide 1-on-1 hands-on Lightroom Classic classes for anyone that needs to develop their own post processing workflow and to learn to make proper adjustments to make their imagery POP.

Depending on your experience, Lightroom Classic can be daunting. As a photographer, I have very few uses for Adobe's Photoshop software - and I primarily use Lightroom for 85% or more of my post-processing work. Lightroom is for photographer's and is a spectacular editing tool. By comparison, Photoshop's primary purpose is aimed at graphic designers & architects. I once read a blog that said Photoshop should rename itself "Photo-Graphic-Design and Animation". I'd say that's not only pretty accurate, but rather clever!

I'll keep the class simple yet thorough, stopping for any questions along the way. It is FUN to see your imagery come to life once you begin to master all of the tools that Lightroom Classic has to offer! The classes can last about as long as you need, however I prefer to cap it off between 2-3 hours. It all depends on how quickly you pick it up. If we need more time or you have more specific goals with photo editing, I'd be happy to schedule a follow up.

Before you schedule your Lightroom Classic class with me, be absolutely sure you've installed the latest update on your machine! (I do NOT install software programs for you) Adobe has recently updated LR Classic back in November of 2021, and it's been the most amazing update. (Adobe provides a cloud based plan that combines both Classic and Adobe's Photoshop) It's available as a Desktop or Mobile version.

If you have any older pirated Adobe editing software on your machine, you won't be able to purchase or download Adobe's product. I'd be happy to assist you with your Lightroom Classic training if installed on a laptop (MacBook Pro) or from my own Desktop. I do NOT teach editing from smart phones.

LR Classic Classes Costs - 2 hrs. for $165.00 | 3 hrs. for $250.00